I own an unusual hat. It’s a bubbling Team Captain, which I can wear for my three most played classes: Medic, Soldier, Heavy. Out of all those classes though, only one of them wears the hat all the time, my fancily dressed Heavy. Neither Medic nor Soldier wear their unusual hats all the time. They wear other stuff though. What cosmetics? I forget.
I’ve gone through various styles over the years. As Medic coats became more common cosmetics, I went through a phase of picking a coat to match whatever map I was playing on. Normal coat for places like Teufort, Doc Holiday for Egypt, Der Wintermantel for snowy maps, Quadwrangler for Nucleus… you get the idea. Originally I went for a more professional look, with the Otolaryngologist’s Mirror (which I CAN pronounce, thank you very much) and whatever medical-looking cosmetics I could get my hands on, generally the stethoscope and mask.
Other classes weren’t always as nicely dressed. Sniper’s been on Mundee’s Wild Ride since the item came out, but that’s a Halloween only item so no one else can see that. Soldier seemed to vary between being really nicely dressed and wearing nothing, and Spy wore a Gibus all the time because eh, I am about as skilled and sneaky as a Gibus Spy and everyone else, I simply didn’t care.
Then the other day, me and my sister were discussing costumes. Not being a fan of Sniper’s default cosmetics, Nommy suggested that when we make our costumes, we should also make the cosmetics we wear too. She went through a long list of Sniper and Demoman cosmetics, claiming that she likes to make her mercs look as dumb as possible, before asking me what I wear on Pyro. I answered “um, just the party hat.”
It hit me like a brick wall. I only really wear one cosmetic these days.
The Party Hat.
It was released in August 2011 to celebrate the birthday of the Team Fortress series. It’s all-class, team-coloured and sits on your head very happily. It’s literally just a hollow paper cone with some staples in it and a nice striped pattern. I’ve had my Party Hat since it came out, and like to remind friends who don’t have one to play the game and get the Party Hat during TF birthday celebrations. But it’s only recently that I’ve realised how attached I am to my party hat.
I equip it on every class. Even Medic. Despite the huge array of Medic cosmetics I own, I normally just wear the Party Hat no matter what.
You know what it is? It’s that Gibus feeling, without wearing a Gibus or other obvious-looking hat. Everyone has the Gibus. Everyone has Pyrovision Goggles. Everyone has a Mercenary Badge, because Valve STILL hasn’t added a new one, despite everyone from 2009 onwards having one. Everyone has a Party Hat too, but it’s so simple that we all forget it’s there. Plus, I already have a wealth of expensive weapons. I have never felt the need to show off my fancy hats, when I run around showing off my SPUFfy Collectors Overdose, my Strange Specialized Kritzkrieg and my host of other Medic weapons.
There’s also the fact that I like my mercs the way they are. They all look fine. Maybe not the best attire for battle, but still, they look good. I don’t like slathering my mercenaries in stupid cosmetics which they’d probably lose anyway. Seems silly, especially since fewer and fewer hats and cosmetics really add to the classes.
The Party Hat works for Smissmas too. Paper hats and all that. It also works on Halloween, since I have a Halloween paint on it. A green-yellow one that doesn’t do anything otherwise. So I can wear it all year round.
But also, the Party Hat IS a nice little hat. Subtle. I like it.
Happy Halloween and merry Scream Fortress, everyone!